• James Armstrong

Rigaud’s current mayor facing competition for his post


PHOTO BY JAMES ARMSTRONG

The recently completed Rigaud Town Hall is one of three municipal buildings in a project that Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. considers to be one of the many achievements of his four-year term in office.

Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. says he’s pleased there’s a competitor vying for his post.

“I’m very excited about the competition,” he told Your Local Journal on hearing the news that resident Jeannine Landry is running against him for the mayor’s seat. “I am a very strong supporter of people having a choice.”

Gruenwald is running for re-election in the town of 7000 and took some time out to reflect on the issues and challenges of his previous four-year term.

Spring flooding

“This is not a time to jump ship. It’s not the time to run away from a problem,” said Gruenwald in reference to the Rigaud residents affected by this year’s record-setting spring flooding along the Ottawa River.

“The flood situation has a life of its own. Some people that were forced from their homes are still living in hotels. People are frustrated,” he said, adding a shuffle in governmental leadership at the provincial level hasn’t improved the situation. He said those living in hotels will continue to be taken care of by the Red Cross for as long as necessary and that permits for reconstruction are slowly being issued to flooded homeowners.

For Gruenwald, there are issues with some of the proposed flooding solutions. Increasing the foundation height to raise a house above the water line can result in the roofline exceeding the allowable height limit.

“We should be able to increase the allowable height in the next few weeks. We are waiting for documentation to come back from the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) that will allow us to add a couple of feet.” All the building regulations have to be met by the town so as not to risk losing provincial financial aid.

Climate change and public works department

The public works department is currently undergoing a re-evaluation of the tools required to serve the community. “Because of the spring floods and climate change, we are evaluating whether or not we should expand this department,” said Gruenwald, adding that’s the reason construction of the proposed municipal garage that was part of the three-fold building project that included the recently completed city hall and fire station has been held back. He expects construction will begin later this year.

Residential and industrial development

The future of the town, from Gruenwald’s point of view, depends upon maintaining a focus on development. “In the four years since we were elected, we have purchased the last strip of land we needed in Parc du Docteur-Oscar-Gendron allowing the town to be in total control of the development of that industrial park,” said Gruenwald. “We can identify certain types of industry that are consistent with the sustainable development program,” he added.

Rigaud Mountain

“Protecting the mountain comes from the 2009 Strategic Plan,” said the mayor. “We are in the process of transferring some privately owned land on the mountain to a conservation land trust.” Similarly, properties in the flood zone that are deemed as no longer buildable will become part of that land trust.

“There are a number of properties in the flood zone that will become part of that conservation body to prevent any construction on that land, again,” he said.

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